NEW YORK – Opponents of a controversial plan to relocate a U.S. air base within Okinawa held a rally in New York on Monday following a weekend prefectural referendum that showed more than 70 percent of voters oppose the move.
The rally outside the Japanese Consulate in New York came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to proceed with the relocation despite the referendum result.
The government in Tokyo has been pushing ahead with work to build a replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is currently located in the crowded residential area of Ginowan. Construction is under way in the Henoko district of Nago, a less densely populated coastal zone.
“I cannot tolerate the prime minister’s attitude,” said Hideko Ochiai, an office worker who is from Nago and currently lives in the suburbs of New York. “The Japanese government must seriously accept the outcome of the prefecture’s will.”